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Zoonotic disease concerns in animal-assisted therapy and animal visitation programs

By D. Waltner-Toews

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Abstract

In a survey of 150 systematically selected US animal care agencies and 74 Canadian humane societies to determine the prevalence of animal assisted therapy (AAT) programmes (concerns about, and experience with zoonotic diseases; and precautions taken to prevent zoonotic disease transmission) 69 US agencies and 49 Canadian societies reported having AAT programmes. 94% used dogs and/or cats, 28% used rabbits, 15% used hamsters, gerbils, mice, guineapigs and 10% used birds (excluding poultry). About two thirds of the programmes were involved with the elderly in nursing homes, about a quarter of them worked with schools, and a quarter worked with hospitals. Half of the responders had concerns about zoonotic disease control. Rabies, ringworm, and external parasitism were the commonest cited zoonotic diseases of concern. Few concerns were based on actual experience. Fewer than half of the programmes consulted a health professional about prevention of zoonotic diseases. Only 10% of the responders reported having printed guidelines about the prevention of zoonotic disease transmission. Practicing veterinarians are encouraged to make their expertise available to local AAT programmes.

Date 1993
Publication Title Canadian Veterinary Journal
Volume 34
Issue 9
Pages 549-551
ISBN/ISSN 0008-5286
Language English
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Tags
  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Animal husbandry
  3. Birds
  4. Canada
  5. Cats
  6. Commonwealth of Nations
  7. Developed countries
  8. Diseases
  9. Dogs
  10. Gerbils
  11. Guinea pigs
  12. Hamsters
  13. Health services
  14. Mammals
  15. Mice
  16. North America
  17. OECD countries
  18. Parasites
  19. peer-reviewed
  20. Pets and companion animals
  21. Public health
  22. rabbits
  23. Rodents
  24. United States of America
  25. Zoonoses
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed